THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Law Minister AK Balan has dismissed the criticism that the controversial MoU between Life Mission and Emirates Red Crescent was signed without proper vetting by the Law Department. “All changes proposed by the Department are reflected in the MoU,” he said.
The minister said the project did not require clearance by the Ministry of External Affairs. “As per the SOP by the MEA in 2018, three types of agreements require clearance - if between two cities in both countries, if between a city in one country and a province in the other, and if between provinces. Also, prior clearance is mandatory if it is monetary assistance,” he said.
The minister said the government was helpless if someone took kickbacks in the project’s execution. The MoU allowed the other party to select a contractor of their choice. The minister said the probe by the Central agencies will expose the guilty. The state government will examine whether it can take any legal action in the issue.
In reply to the hasty signing of the MoU, he said: “It would not take a day. We would sign it within one hour if it is for providing housing to the poor.” The minister said the government will not sack any of the consultancy agencies which were appointed for development projects. “Afterwards, we will go for tender and award the work to the eligible. We will not go back,” the minister said.
Balan said the no-confidence motion in the upcoming assembly session will bring disrepute to the UDF. He said the UDF will lose some of its votes.